"Sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

pearljam.jpgHeaded over to the Q to catch the Pearl Jam show tonight, and that has me pondering my Top Five PJ tunes:

5. “Glorified G”
4. “Rearviewmirror”
3. “Hail Hail”
2. “Dissident”
1. Has to be a tie between “Given to Fly” and “Party in the U.S.A.”

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Today’s save was Chris Perez’s first this season against a team other than the White Sox. And it could be his last for a little while, as Manny Acta announced postgame that Kerry Wood is officially ready to resume the closing duties Tuesday in Kansas City. Wood blew a tie game in the seventh inning Saturday and only faced one batter Sunday. But Acta wanted to see him pitch on consecutive days (something Wood didn’t do in Spring Training or on his rehab assignment) before targeting him for the ninth inning.
  • We might start to see Mark Grudzielanek steal playing time away from the struggling Luis Valbuena, who has looked lost at the plate all season and lost in the field the past week (four errors in three games at shortstop). The Indians don’t appear ready to pull the trigger on a move bringing up Jason Donald, but Valbuena, who was on the bench today, has clearly been overmatched. Grudzielanek saw increased playing time the past week with Asdrubal Cabrera on the pine, and he had a three-hit game today. He’s batting .326 (15-for-46) with seven RBIs over his last 12 games.
  • Lou Marson came through with his first RBI of the season today. Sure, it was an infield single to third, but it’s progress, all the same. That was just the fourth RBI out of the catching spot for the Tribe this year.
  • The 7-9 spots of the lineup were a combined 5-for-10 with six RBIs today.
  • The Indians are 9-4 when scoring four or more runs and 9-2 when scoring five or more.
  • As one Twitterer pointed out to me, the Tribe is 6-2 with Andy Marte in the lineup and 5-16 with him on the bench. I have no idea what this means.
  • But I do know that Marte now has a pair of three-RBIs games to Jhonny Peralta’s zero. Peralta has 10 RBIs in 109 plate appearances, whereas Marte has seven RBIs in 32 plate appearances.
  • Travis Hafner appears to be coming back to life. He has reached base safely in 12 of his last 17 plate appearances and is batting .583 (7-for-12) with a homer and two RBIs in his last four games. He also hit that three-run homer that didn’t count, Friday night against the Tigers.
  • Grady Sizemore also hit a homer in that game that didn’t count, and he’s now batting .213 with a .583 OPS on the season. It’s reasonable to wonder if he might benefit from moving down from the No. 2 spot of the lineup (not that there is a long list of candidates to replace him). “We need to get our guy going,” Acta said, referring to Sizemore. Lefties are punishing Sizemore to the tune of a .116 (5-for-43) average against.
  • Back to the bullpen, we’re seeing more and more prominent opportunities for Tony Sipp, who has rebounded from a rough spring and a rough start to hold the opposition to no earned runs over his last nine appearances. In those nine innings, he’s struck out nine, walked four and allowed three hits. Acta listed Perez and Sipp as his primary setup men, now that Wood is back.
  • Promising lefty Kelvin De La Cruz has been promoted to Double-A Akron. He was 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in six starts for Kinston.
  • How about our old buddy Jody Gerut hitting for the cycle?
  • On the off chance you haven’t seen it already, this is a Bruce Drennan rant of epic proportions.

~AC

13 Comments

To Marte’s credit, his bat was pretty much responsible for 2 of the wins in the games he played in, so it’s not that odd that they’d have a winning record. His 3 RBIs in 2 separate games is more than Laporta and Marson have combined on the year, and his 7 RBIs total is more than Cabrera, Laporta and Marson have combined. Which goes to show how pathetic the offense has been.

AC, you have a “Marte” where there should be a “Peralta”.
The decision not to call up Donald would seem to be commentary on Valbuena’s future: utility infielder. If they believed he still had a future as the every day guy, I think they’d send him to AAA to work things out. But instead they’re just going to make Grudz their every day 2B and give Donald more time to develop before calling him up.
What do you do with Marte/LaPorta/Branyan? Marte’s average might be low, but he’s obviously taking advantage of the opportunities he’s given. LaPorta and Branyan are a platoon of awful. As much as I would like to see LaPorta get regular starts in hopes he gets into a groove, I’m coming around to the line of thinking that has him back in Columbus. They’re obviously not going to eat the money they spent on Branyan, so partner him up with Marte, who can then also play 3B periodically. It’s good to see Pronk starting to come to life, but Grady is killing me.

AC, no b-sides on that list? “Rearviewmirror” and “Given to Fly” might be on mine, but I’m thinking “Alone” would be there somewhere — possibly “MFC,” too.

awful is relative, Branyan looks “good” compared to Laporta, except against left handed pitching when he’s an auto strikeout. Which was known before this year, he’s near 50% strikeouts against lefties in his career. Also known was Laporta’s struggles against left handed pitching, despite his right handedness … which goes back to, why was everyone concerned about the lefty heavy lineup the team was trotting out except for Shapiro, who kept on acquiring left handed hitters? They’re raking it at .214/.577 against left handers this year. And that’s not surprising in the least … They need to pick a position for Laporta, send him to Columbus and have him work at that position and get his bat on track. Simplify things. Call up a non-prospect, Crowe, Duncan or Gimenez, in his place. When they trade Kearns, then they could maybe give Jordan Brown a shot … With Donald/Valbuena, the thing is, 25-year-olds who’ve played close to a full season at AAA and currently have an OPS around .900 don’t need more time to develop.

I don’t know, ST, that implies that players should be major league ready after only 1 season in AAA, which I don’t think is always the case — particularly when their stretches of AAA ball has been erratic. Valbuena has only played 83 games in AAA, and that was 3 seasons over 5 years! And Donald’s road hasn’t been much steadier, given his injuries. I think there’s a lot to be said for consistency through the system.
Then again, if winning is the objective, Donald SHOULD stay in Columbus, as Grudz has earned a chance to be the every day second baseman. There’s no point in taking a chance on Donald when we’ve got a proven performer already on board. If Grudz goes south, though, Donald has to get the call — and he should, anyway, if/when we’re completely out of it.
I think you and I agree completely on LaPorta. He’s never going to get a rhythm going as long as he’s playing every other game (if that) at 3 different positions. I do wonder, though, who you call up in his place. I doubt they’d call Brantley up to be a 4th outfielder and they used the same reason to leave Crowe in AAA after spring training.
The idea of a Marte/Branyan platoon appeals to me, if for no other reason than to get Marte regular ABs in preparation for him to be our regular third baseman, which is a real possibility.

I’d say Crowe still makes the most sense with his speed and defense off the bench. I don’t think Crowe’s really considered a “prospect” anymore, so I don’t see a reason to be concerned about him not getting enough at bats. Gimenez, unlike last year, has played well in AAA, but Crowe’s already on the 40-man roster

How is “Go” not on your top 5 list?

unreal.

Well AC, what’d you think of the show? Sorry you only got 2 of your top 5. I was at the show of course (and the Columbus and Indy shows), I am glad you have Given to Fly up near the top. It is not my favorite, but it is always such a good song to see live I think. Did Kerry Wood head over to see his friend Ed, and did any of the other guys on the team go to the show?

I didn’t realize people were still this into Pearl Jam. I used to like them back when I was in high school and they first came out, but have since concluded they along with Smashing Pumpkins retroactively suck … Other than Pearl Jam, another thing that sucks is the Indians. Weirdly, the Washington Nationals appear to not suck. Second place in the NL East? Wtf? I know they have some new players … but … I may have to reevaluate Acta, and decide that he too sucked all along

we’re the fourth worst team in MLB for a reason but I wouldn’t not say that Acta is the reason for all of our downfalls but he is the new face and will undoubtedly take some of the blame.

At the bare minimum look at what he’s done that’s been positive: instill a different approach for pitchers along with Belcher and Radinsky, hit on Austin Kearns and a potential hit on Saul Rivera who easily could have won a spot out of spring training. We all suspected that the pitching would be our all around weakness. No one suspected that we would have struggled like this offensively. We all conversed about the heavy left-handedness of our lineup but still expected to put up runs at a decent clip. I think our woes are more of an indictment on Jon Nunnally and adapting to his philosophies.

I meant “would not say…”

only Houston (85) and Seattle (102) have scored less runs than the Indians (106). It is totally pathetic. Currently, we have too many holes but I refuse to get over-analytical about the lack of offensive results thus far. No one would expect Kearns to continue this hot streak. No one would expect LaPorta to continue his poor streak. Coincidentally, they both have 74 official ABs on the season.

And despite some of the scenarios that we have recently brought up regarding the roster it appears as if AC has answered our questions about a Donald promotion. I still think it’s Rivera in place of Wright, FMR spot and all.

I don’t know why they’d bother promoting Rivera. It’s not like Wright’s been bad. It would be hard to say which of those guys will perform better. Rafael Perez was successful against AAA hitters too, I wouldn’t evaluate veteran pitchers on what they’re doing in AAA … until I at least see Laporta hit a fly ball to the warning track, I fully expect him to continue his incredibly horrendous streak … I’d like these guys to at least look like they’re playing with a sense of urgency, instead of going through the motions. Like I said in spring training though, Acta is never “concerned” about anything. “Urgency” does not appear to be in his vocabulary.

Great post once again. Thanksdog training

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